Research from Kouzes & Posner found that the number one trait that workers admire and respect in their leaders is honesty. In talking about honesty, it is expected that our leaders will be honest both with themselves and with others. Being clear and consistent about what you stand for is important. If you say that one of your values is honesty and authenticity, then you need to model authentic and honest communication in both your behaviour and in what you say, otherwise you may lose your credibility.
Authentic and honest communication is about:
- being true to yourself and other people
- being open and honest and not avoiding the difficult conversations
- being comfortable to negotiate and say No
- being comfortable with giving and receiving honest feedback
- finding your voice and having your say
- being comfortable to be vulnerable with your team and say I don’t have all the answers let’s look for the solutions together
- taking ownership
Being authentic and honest can be challenging as we are taught to speak with diplomacy and political correctness, especially in the business world. While this is true, it is still necessary to make sure you are not sugar-coating or dancing around an issue, as this can cloud the meaning of what is communicated.
The reality is that honesty is required as a leadership trait.